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OH Roofer Target of Illegal Worker Case

Monday, April 29, 2013

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An Ohio roofing company and its owner are at the center of an ongoing federal investigation involving the alleged use of illegal workers.

While federal authorities are still investigating the hiring practices and policies of the 76-year-old Dayton-based roofing company, they have commenced a federal civil suit in order to seize the owner’s home.

His bank accounts and truck have already been seized.

Williams Brothers Roofing and Siding Co. Inc. and its owner, Gregory Oldiges, 55, face accusations that they violated a laundry list of federal laws, including bringing in and harboring illegal workers, money laundering, identity fraud, and conspiracy.

Williams Brothers
http://www.williamsbrosroofing.com/

Williams Brothers Roofing and Siding Co. Inc., founded in 1937, serves residential and commercial customers in the Dayton area. Federal authorities have questioned the company's hiring practices.

Unlawful activities have occurred for at least 10 years and generated millions of dollars in profits, according to allegations enumerated in a detailed affidavit signed by a Homeland Security agent and filed in the case.

Criminal charges have not been filed.

Investigation Ongoing

The Department of Homeland Security’s investigation into the company, officers, employees and other individuals associated with the contractor is “ongoing,” according to a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The spokesman told D+D News he could not elaborate on the case.

However, the affidavit filed in the civil forfeiture suit sheds light on just what type of unlawful activities are suspected.

The document outlines factors to support probable cause that the company engaged in bringing in and harboring illegal aliens; unlawful employment of illegal aliens; identity fraud; identity theft; fraud in connection with access devices; laundering of monetary instruments; transactions of property derived from specific unlawful activity; and conspiracy.

Those convicted of harboring and conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens can be punished by up to five years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000. Money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering can lead to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Williams Brothers, founded in 1937, provides a variety of roofing and siding services to residential and commercial customers throughout the Dayton area.

Gregory Oldiges
LinkedIn

Gregory Oldiges, 55, has owned the company since 2006.

The current owner, Oldiges, was hired in 1984. He co-owned the business for unspecified period of time with Martin Williams but purchased the company in 2006, according to case documents.

Property, Truck, Bank Accounts

The recent seizure suit for Oldiges’ Beavercreek home in Greene County, OH, was filed April 15 by U.S. Attorney Pamela Stanek in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

A local news agency said the 3.5 bedroom, 5,530-square-foot home is worth a half-million dollars.

Stanek told the Dayton Daily News that any civil forfeiture is based on criminal violations, but that the investigation could take several weeks to result in indictments.

The attorney has also seized Oldiges’ 2012 pickup truck, the report said.

On Jan. 31, Williams Brothers’ bank accounts were frozen pursuant to seizure warrants, according to the affidavit in the case.

“Within the year prior to the seizures, the amount of $9,054,216.56 was deposited into Williams Bros’ business checking [account]… at least $4.5 million represents the proceeds of the illegal alien use, identity fraud, false statements and conspiracy to commit those offenses,” the affidavit noted.

The Allegations

The affidavit filed in support of the seizure accuses Williams Brothers of using “illegal aliens as workers for its roofing and siding projects” for at least 10 years.

nails
W.J. Pilsak / Wikimedia Commons

In the affidavit, the employer is accused of paying an illegal worker $1 per hour to pick up nails at various roofing and siding job sites.

“Williams Bros pays the illegal aliens approximately half as much as the legal workers,” the affidavit alleges. In one case, Oldiges paid an illegal worker, who had been injured in a fall, “$1 per hour to pick up nails at various Williams Bros job sites,” the affidavit alleged.

The company designated the illegal workers as “subcontractors” on jobs, with each "subcontractor" supervising a team of eight to 0 other illegal workers, the affidavit alleged.

The affidavit said that several of those subcontractors traveled to Texas and Mexico in order to transport illegal workers to Dayton, under Oldiges’ direction.

Further, some were instructed to create false Social Security numbers and engage in other unlawful activity, the document said.

Moreover, Oldiges’ policies relating to the treatment of the illegal workers included firing them as soon as possible should they get injured and instructing them to not reveal that they were working for or at the direction of Oldiges or Williams Brothers, the affidavit said.

Contractor Payout

The court documents allege that Oldiges has been “very successful in his roofing business” in the area, because “his profit margins allow him to provide lower bids than his competition who employ legal labor.”

Williams Brothers made around $8.5 million in sales in 2012, and the profit was approximately $3 million. Legal labor only accounted for about 35 percent, the affidavit alleged.

Six years ago, Oldiges told the Dayton Daily News, “I can sleep at night knowing my customer’s investment is protected — they’re getting skilled craftsmen working on their houses.”

Williams Brothers provides a variety of roofing and siding services, including shingle roofing, flat roof systems, masonry and chimney flashing, and repair and maintenance work, according to its website.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.

A Look at Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Khaalid Walls provided D+D News with some background information and statistics regarding the department’s work.

Effective worksite enforcement plays an important role in the fight against illegal immigration, Walls said.

E-verify
everifyandi9news.com

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials encourage all employers to take advantage of compliance tools, such as E-Verify.

ICE says it has developed "a comprehensive worksite enforcement strategy that promotes national security, protects critical infrastructure, and targets employers who violate employment laws or engage in abuse or exploitation of workers."

ICE's worksite enforcement strategy, initiated in April 2009, is designed to:

  • Penalize employers who knowingly hire illegal workers; 
  • Deter employers who are tempted to hire illegal workers; and
  • Encourage all employers to take advantage of easy to use and well-crafted compliance tools.

“We carry out this strategy with the robust use of Form I-9 inspections, civil fines and debarment, and by promoting compliance tools like E-Verify through the ICE Mutual Agreement between the Government and Employers (IMAGE) program,” Walls noted.

All industries, regardless of size, location and type are expected to comply with employment laws, Walls said.

He noted that employers needed to understand that the integrity of their employment records was just as important to the federal government as the integrity of their tax files or banking records.

Walls provided the following statistics:

Form I-9 Audits:

FY 2012 = 3,004

FY 2011 = 2,496

FY 2010 = 2,196

FY 2009 = 1,444

Criminal Arrest of Employers

FY 2012 = 240

FY 2011= 221

FY 2010 = 196

FY 2009 = 114

Indictments of Employers

FY 2012 = 165

FY 2011 = 178

FY 2010 = 177

FY 2009 = 116

Convictions of Employers

FY 2012 = 150

FY 2011 = 193

FY 2010 = 119

FY 2009 = 89

Worksite Cases Initiated

FY 2012 = 3,904

FY2011 = 3,291

FY2010 = 2,746

FY 2009 = 1,461

Fines Collected

FY 2012: $6,974,499

FY 2011: $7,152,794

FY 2010:  $5,505,929

FY 2009: $933,461

Washington lawmakers are currently debating an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

   

Tagged categories: Building envelope; Business matters; Business operations; Government; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; Roofing contractors; Subcontractors

Comment from Renee Matis, (12/25/2014, 4:52 PM)

Does anyone know whether this roofer was part of the Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors program?


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